Researcher ORCID Identifier

Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Brian Duistermars

Reader 2

Elise Ferree

Rights Information

2023 Taylor M Arakaki


Previous literature acknowledges that nurses have the power to revolutionize the healthcare system. However, despite their key role in healthcare, their well-being is in jeopardy as their workloads are continuously growing, especially after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Stress manifests itself within these medical institutions leading to the activation of the body’s two stress systems: the sympathetic-adrenomedullary (SAM) system and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. Unfortunately, the amount of stress these nurses endure put them in a position where their bodies are unable to efficiently combat the stressful stimuli resulting in allostatic overload. The literature was contextualized in the nursing profession through a qualitative research study that utilized three in-depth interviews conducted with med surge, telemetry, and intensive care unit (ICU) nurses who worked with COVID-19 patients. Even before COVID, high rates of burnout in the nursing profession existed due to the many systematic challenges. As seen in the interviews, the overwhelming amounts of stress have contributed to burnout which makes nurses more vulnerable to the development of psychological disorders. This thesis aims to utilize preexisting literature and a personally conducted qualitative research study to analyze stress and associated health conditions, biologically and sociologically, in the context of the nursing profession. Such considerations will hopefully bring greater awareness to the ongoing issues nurses face so changes can be made to ensure that these essential individuals have the resources they need to cope with their work, their stressors, and the burden our society puts on their shoulders.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.